Inspired

Over Easter break, we went and stayed at my Auntie’s- who lives in Crowborough- for the weekend. There were many things I saw which inspired me in those few days

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We went and had  afternoon tea at this pretty place in Duddleswell which used to be a post office.

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And across the road, I saw this quant little bollard which signifies the distance to London.

It’s quite sad as people wouldn’t make bollards such as this anymore to inform/ direct pedestrians and drivers. Now we see roadsigns that are over 6 feet tall directing us where to go and what to do.. Just like the photo below, taken down the road from the quant London bollard.

The difference with this sign was that I’ve never seen a road sign say “IGNORE SAT NAV”. It shows the juxtaposition between what computer databases advise us to do and what the real, physical world in front of us shows us. That difference can result in us migrating along different routes; in a metaphorical sense as well as literally. One statement, the written word can have a powerful effect.It also points out how much we rely on modern computer technology to guide us.

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This made me laugh. Firstly because mum and auntie Karen saw this sign before I did and they both said “George, look- that’s a good sign!” knowing that I’m on the look out for unusual signs… By that time, we’d gone way past it, so we pulled over and I walked back to take a photograph of it! The things we do for Art!

 

More Test Tiles

Along with the Follow The Crowd test tiles I also made these ones. They started life as a blank slab of terracotta, my canvas, and I experimented with lots of decorative techniques on this, the objective for this was to see what worked- what technique would I most like the look of after it had been fired and glazed? 20140506-012636.jpg
I used yellow, blue, green and white slip, creating layers to do inlaying and sgraffito or painting a coat of slip onto paper, pressing the paper slip-side down onto the clay then drawing a pattern directly onto the paper. The latter was my favourite technique, though it was quite messy and less uniform!
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I enjoyed etching a bike- like to the images of ones found on street signs- in the clay, it was completely freehand, which I prefer- I avoid tracing unless I’m tracing my own drawings!
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I was pleased with the tiles after the bisque firing, though they did shrink- which is normal with terracotta, but not something I want when it comes to making my final piece! I’ve also realised that for the tiles/ plaques I wish to make, I want them to be smooth, not rough to touch like these tiles were!
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But, that was fixed with glazing! I used yellow, clear and blue. I prefer the blue as it’s a lovely colour and looks gorgeous over the white inlaid floral patterns. But, I don’t think wiring will be readable if it was done on this type of clay and with the blue glaze. So I’ve made my mind up that I’m making my actual plaques/ tiles out of stoneware
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Realisations

Whilst I’ve been writing my essay If Anyting Can Be Art, What Makes Good Art? I am always learning. This is a discovery I made about judgment and taste…

Siân Ede writes in Art and Science

“…Thinkers in the arts and humanities seem part of a playful circular game in which the truth is never privileged in one direction or another and is always out of reach.”

What is The Truth? Only what humans have thought as the truth. It is purely an assumption, a judgement. This reflects taste and aesthetics. What is Good to one person may be Bad to another. However, these are still judgements. To truly appreciate an object one must stop thinking about it all together. Echkhart Tolle explains this in A New Earth and calls this inner space, when one is conscious, when the mind isn’t absorbed by thinking.

“Without straining, relaxed but alert, give your complete attention to the object, every detail of it. If thoughts arise, don’t get involved in them. It is not the thoughts you interested in but the act of perception itself. Can you take the thinking out perceiving? can you look without the voice in you head commenting, drawing conclusions, comparing, or trying to figure something out?..”

Kant says this himself…

“Judgement gives law only to itself, not to nature”

Making Tiles

Before I went home for Easter I had a crack at making tiles-  I suppose the tiles I’ve made a pretty basic, I’m paying more attention to the content on them.

I’ve been particularly inspired by delftware as it’s such a traditional technique which has been tweaked and evolved slightly throughout the centuries. To create something in a traditional way which puts forward modern ideas is fun! The two images below are from my journal- from the research I’ve done on English delftware and the blue plaque scheme…
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I stumbled upon a little book called Art Tiles in the library full of-yep you’ve guessed it- tiles by artists- some quirky and playful, others more ‘serious”. Ha, it’s funny talking about tiles in such a way!

This more traditional being  blue and white

Like Delftware tiles, made of earthenware, Dot Kolentsis has made what seems a more traditional tile being blue and white.

I really like this, it's comical and very bright; using colours one would actually find on street signs in the city.

I really like this, Doug Spalding has created something comical and very bright; using colours one would actually find on street signs in the city.

Not too keen on this one

Not too keen on this one… Maybe because it’s, dare I say it…ordinary? Set over three tiles Janet Fergus’s potted plant design looks like something one would find in a 20’s bathroom. Interestingly the press-mould image is set over 3 rectangular tiles… The colours would be quite camouflaged if placed on a red brick wall, which is something to consider when choosing glazes for my tiles/ plaques.

Tiles don't have to be flat!

Tiles don’t have to be flat! I really do admire Colin Johnson’s Moonflower tiles. They are so sleek! Not practical but the shapes and shadows they make are awesome. I think because the tiles are made of inexpensive clay and are bare, this emphasises their dimension. The focus is on the shape they create and not an individual tile.

A page from the book Illustrated Dictionary of Practical Pottery… I did a bit of research on the best ways to make tiles before I got stuck in, as in the past I’ve made them and they have warped etc Scan 7

Pages from my journal and the picture below this one shows how I moved this idea forwards to then experiment making earthenware tiles which when laid together read “Follow The Crowd”
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No Place Like Home

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It was fab being back home for Easter; only when one moves away from home, they realise how beautiful their hometown is. My home is in Oxfordshire. Now every time I go back I am reminded of its beauty.

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This is where we take our doggies for their walk (I looked pretty hilarious taking the photo- as if I was trying to do some ballet pose). It’s one of my favourite places to go now as it’s very nostalgic. When I’m sat in my room in Cardiff and my thoughts drift to family: I picture walking amongst the green of the trees and the piercing blue sky.

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This picture represents Oxford- a popular place to cycle in, it’s full of bikes! “The Oxford Pantry” have played on this and used a bicycle to place adverts for their shop! I also like the typography… Since I’ve been doing my city project I’m always on the look out for quirky signage.

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This was looking outside of Pizza Express in The Golden Cross. Much of Oxford’s architecture is just so pretty to look at. Funnily enough April was the first time (or two times!) I’d ever eaten in this Pizza Express… It’s probably because the main dining area is upstairs so I’ve foolishly walked past many times thinking it was shut!

Terracotta Tiles

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I’ve made these plaques out of terracotta and they are the same dimensions as UK bricks. I’d like to place some plaques on brick work as the structure of the building become part of the artwork. I’ve kept the plaques quite rough in texture to replicate the wear and tear of bricks. Also, Martin and I were discussing each other’s work and he(who’s studying the same course as me) suggested that I could make a plaque look really old, so it blends in with its surroundings. Then only the curious would see that in fact, the writing on this plaque is not old, as the quote on it is not what one would see on a “traditional” tile. But it looks old.. Hmmm… I’d like my work to be blurring the lines, making people stop and smile.

Who’s inspired me? The designer Douglas Young’s Letter Box, 2002 is cool as it shows-as the title suggests- a collection of letter boxes. But it’s not the letterboxes alone that are intriguing, it’s the calligraphy marked on them. An individual or group creating their mark on a material object in an urban area which people will walk past. It’s given me ideas for possible locations for more plaques!

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Just a page about bricks out of my journal…

Cézanne and The Modern at the Ashmolean

A few days ago I went to the Cézanne exhibition at the Ashmolean… As soon as I got home from Uni I wanted to go to this show, as Impressionism isn’t something I’ve looked into with detail. And since the museum is in my hometown I thought it was the perfect opportunity to go!
I actually went to the exhibition with my friend Catriona, and together whilst we walked around it we discussed the paintings which held our interest. It was intriguing having a second opinion, and from a friend who wasn’t an art student. So apart from the obvious, the exhibition include art from the likes of Modigliani, Soutine, Lipchitz, Daumier, Courbet and Van Gogh. These paintings (and a few sculptures) are part of the Henry Pearlman collection.

Well, both Trina and I were captivated by Modigliani's interpretation of faces: lacking in the roundedness and eye colour department... You may see from my rough sketches of his portraits 'Leon Indenbaum' and "Jean Cocteau"

Well, both Trina and I were captivated by Modigliani’s interpretation of faces: lacking in the roundedness and eye colour department…
You may see from my rough sketches of his portraits ‘Leon Indenbaum’ and “Jean Cocteau”. Indenabum looks rather miserable and I could see why Modigliani didn’t need up giving this portrait Indebaum as a gift since his eyes were , well, lacking. Cocteau looked rather perky and he had glorious cheek bones. I was quite drawn to the vibrancy.

Leon Indenbaum, Modigliani

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Jean Cocteau, Modigliani

Probably my favourite out of the entire collection is Cezanne's 'Still Life with Carafe, Bottle and Fruit'

Probably my favourite out of the entire collection is Cézanne’s ‘Still Life with Carafe, Bottle and Fruit’ Why? I like the clean background, the strokes of colour and that there is a distinction between each stroke. That it’s not dense in rich greens and reds like many of the paintings in this exhibition. It stood out to me.

This is the actual painting of 'Still Life with Carafe, Bottle and Fruit'

This is the actual painting of ‘Still Life with Carafe, Bottle and Fruit’ The painting is comprised of water colour and pencil. One is immediately drawn to the bottle as it has been worked into more. Cézanne used watercolours in an unconventional way, often switching between the mediums throughout painting instead of finishing with one (pencil) then moving to another (watercolour)

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I wasn’t too keen on this one; well tell a lie, I could appreciate it from a distance, so it was on the back wall of the exhibition and standing by the entrance (the opposite wall) the scribbled building looked very cleanly drawn. Perhaps this was because of the contrast of black on white.

P.S There are still other works of Art I wish to talk about from this exhibition, but I decided I would publish this post as it is for now as I wanted to share my thoughts soon after I went to the show, whilst they were fresh.